· 2 min read · News

Labour plans to end compulsory retirement


The Government has announced proposals to scrap compulsory retirement at 65.

  Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, announced a shake-up that could see an end to the controversial mandatory retirement age for workers.
According to BBC reports, Harman signalled a wish to change the law that would allow people to work beyond the age of 65. In the UK, a worker can have their employment withdrawn at 65 without any redundancy payment even if they do not want to retire.

 But Harman called the retirement age "arbitrary" and suggested a "massive policy change" was in the offing.

 A review of the rules had already been brought forward to this year.

Denise Keating, chief executive of the Employers Forum on Age (EFA), said: "We are absolutely delighted that the Government is finally taking steps to tackle an archaic system which allows the enforced retirement of people simply because of their age.  
"Every year thousands of people over 65 make huge contributions to the UK's economy and heritage, yet despite being capable of continuing in work, many more individuals are involuntarily retired at 65.  
"These economic times create an even more pressing imperative for the Government to do something with regards to this issue.  Pensioners need to work now because they have seen the financial crisis drain their pension value, and as Britain becomes an ageing society, with huge demographic change, we are facing an even greater pensions crisis which will affect all of us.
"We can no longer afford a culture of early retirement.  It is vital that this anomaly in the age discrimination legislation is removed as it will help deliver the massive cultural shift which is needed to stop people being stereotyped by age."

The EFA works with a number of employers, including B&Q, Hertfordshire County Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Nationwide and McDonald's, which report that operating without the default retirement age has resulted in significant business benefits: filling skills gaps, keeping valuable members of their workforce, and having a better connection with their diverse customer base.  

Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, added: "The law is nothing more than discrimination and should be scrapped.

 "The need to give workers the right to stay on after the age of 65 is long overdue. Currently employers have the power to say, ‘That's it - go directly to the scrap heap' to women over 60 and men who reach 65 years of age.
"Older people should be encouraged to continue working as long as they are capable. If they can't afford to retire, why should they be forced to struggle when they still have the ability and drive to get to work and make a meaningful contribution? To force them to stop working just because of their age is nothing short of discrimination and contradicts the very law that was brought in to counteract that."